Parkes on pre-season and what lies ahead
Yesterday, Tom Parkes explained how, and why, he has shed weight over the summer months and how pre-season training has gone to date.
Today he explains how relegation to the Conference affected him and how he is looking forward to the first pre-season friendly and the start of the new season.
"Relegation was one thing I never wanted to happen to this club.
" But it did happen and now we have to bounce back. The only way we can do that is to prove to the fans that we are proud to wear the shirt and want to get the club back into the Football League."
There has, of course, been a number of players leaving the club over the summer but, incredibly, last season's back five remains intact which gives the side a platform on which to build.
"We kept 15 clean sheets last season, which was very good. We can learn from, and build on, that for the coming season and we will keep working hard to try to improve that record."
Next week the players will be training at a new venue, the University of South Wales.
"It's going to be great for us, because we will continue to bond as a group and get to know each other a little bit more."
On Tuesday they will travel from their temporary base to Cheltenham, for their first pre-season friendly.
"It should be a good workout against a League Two team.
"We have played them many times before and the games have always been tough. Even though it's a friendly on Tuesday, we have to take it seriously as we build towards the start of the season.
"Everyone is itching to play a game and the fact that it's only a few days away is a boost for us."
With only a month to go before the season begins, he's already thinking of the two opening games, against former league clubs Grimsby Town and Barnet.
"It's going to be a tough start as Grimsby are still a strong side and Barnet have always been a good passing team.
"I think it's a big help that we face two strong teams to begin our campaign, as we are a strong team ourselves, but the aim is to get off to a winning start."
For a number of the squad, including 'Parkesy', the Conference is a step into the unknown.
"To be honest I don't really know what to expect from the season.
"People have told me that it's going to be very similar to League Two but while I think that might be true of some of the games we face, it won't be the case in every game.
"We really do have to take each game as it comes and I'm confident the gaffer will prepare us right for the season."
The full interview with Tom will be available shortly on Gas Player